The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbor

by Shirley Linder, Quill Editor

Meet your neighbor, Shelly Edwards, of Oquawka.

Shelly was born and raised in Oquawka, the daughter of Jerry and Diane Essex. Jerry retired from Champion/Federal Mogul and Diane worked for the Yorkwood School District.

Her grandparents are Dorothy and Dale Essex, both born and raised in Oquawka and Ralph and Barbara Johnson. Ralph was born and raised in Henry County, IA and Barbara was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Shelly has one brother, Rick Essex, who lives in Highland Village, TX, where is in sales at BlueLine Services. He is married to Laura and they have 3 children, Hunter, Conner, and Alana.

In 1989, Shelly married Matt Edwards, who was born and raised in Burlington, IA. He is a journeyman electrician for MSI in Galesburg. He also enjoys flying radio control aircraft.

The couple have three daughters; Rachel Edwards, 31, a system trainer for FACTS Mgt, and also a graphic facilitator for various groups lives in Lincoln, NE; Emily Edwards, 20, is a representative for Nelnet, and lives with her sister in Lincoln, NE; Maddie Edwards Leath, 18, married Ryan Leath in June of 2016.

Maddie enjoys art projects, volunteering, and random road trips and Ryan is employed by Walmart in Burlington, IA.

Shelly attended Union High school, graduating in 1983. She played volleyball and was a cheerleader.

Shelly was an Elementary teacher at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Monmouth from 2005-2009; from 2014-2016 she was an account manager, writer and social media manager at F.A.C. Marketing in Burlington, IA. In July 2016 she became the new Co-Executive Director at Family Outreach Community Center in Stronghurst. She was co-chairman of the board of FOCC before beginning her new job.

She is a member of Faith Bible Church in Oquawka where she is very active in AWANA, as a leader; Women's Bible Study leader; VBS teacher; annual Ladies Retreat Chair, etc.

She enjoys photography, reading, bible study, helping others, and taking random road trips with her girls.

The family enjoys going to Wisconsin in the summer to spend a week with her brother's family and her parents in a vacation home on Lake Sinissippi.

Shelly says, "One of many favorite quotes of mine is:

I am a woman who desperately needs grace, therefore I should be a woman who freely offers grace.

"I don't know who to attribute the quote to, I just know that it describes me well."

She also states, "My outlook on life is that God is my Creator, that he sent his only son Jesus to die on the cross as payment for my sins, and that I gratefully trust in that fact.

"Everything in my life is viewed through this world view. I want others to know and trust Jesus, too.

"I try to love others and be the hands and feet of Christ in serving others, and I will be the first to admit I don't do this perfectly.

"That's why I pray to be smarter and kinder than I really am."

Her future plans involve traveling and seeing this beautiful world with her husband.

All she has to do is talk him into it!